Captain Video and His Video Rangers
(1949 - 1955)
26 minutes per episode
Television / Series / Science Fiction / Adventure / Action
Cast: Don Hastings, Al Hodge, Richard Coogan and Ben Lackland
Captain Video and His Video Rangers was an American science fiction television series. It was broadcast on the DuMont Television Network , and was the first series of its kind on American television. It aired between June 27, 1949 and April 1, 1955. Set in the distant future, the series followed the adventures of a group of fighters for truth and justice, the Video Rangers, led by Captain Video. The Rangers operated from a secret base on a mountain top. Their uniforms resembled US Army surplus with thunderbolts sewn on. The Captain had a teen-age companion who was known only as the Video Ranger. Captain Video received his orders from the Commissioner of Public Safety, whose responsibilities took in the entire solar system as well as human colonies on planets around other stars. Captain Video was the first adventure hero explicitly designed for early live television. "I TOBOR", the robot was an important, semi-regular character on the program, and represents the first appearance of a robot in live televised science fiction. The character's name was actually supposed to be "ROBOT I", but the stencil with its name was applied to its costume backwards. The show was broadcast live five to six days a week and was extremely popular with both children and adults. Because of the large adult audience, the usual network broadcast time of the daily series was 7 to 7:30 PM, EST, leading of the "prime evening" time-block. The production was for most of its existence hampered by a very low budget, and the Captain did not originally have a space ship of his own. Until 1953, Captain Video's live adventures occupied 20 minutes of each day's 30-minute program time. About 10 minutes into each episode, a Video Ranger communications officer showed about 7 minutes of old cowboy movies. These were described by the communications officer, Ranger Rogers, as the adventures of Captain Video's "undercover agents" on Earth.
Airing from June of 1949 until April of 1955, “Captain Video and His Video Rangers” was the first-ever space Adventure series produced for television. Broadcast live on television, the half-hour episodes were shown five to six evenings a week. Dressed in uniforms emblazoned with their symbol, a Thunderbolt , the Video Rangers traveled by Rocket Ship from their secret base on a mountain top to patrol the solar system and colonies on other planets, fighting evil. The main characters were the Video Rangers, led by Captain Video (Richard Coogan 1949-1950 and Al Hodge 1950-1955). Captain Video had a young sidekick known only as the Video Ranger (Don Hastings, who later in his career would star in soap operas). The first villain the Video Rangers had to battle was the evil inventor, Dr. Pauli (Hal Conklin). The series also featured many appearances by I TOBOR, a robot.
The program was so popular that Columbia made a movie Serial in 1951 titled “Captain Video, Master of the Stratosphere ” which starred Judd Holdren.